S.T. Game 2: Torres shines in Yanks’ 6-5 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

First off, let me apologize for not being able to do more at various meetings and with various blogs. I can’t make various meetings or do more than what I am doing. What with my work schedule and checking in on an aging mom, even doing this blog is difficult sometimes as far as finding the time. Not to mention my own health and trying to improve that. To paraphrase the Rolling Stones, Time is NOT on my side.

The Yanks tied the game in the top of the ninth but gave up a run in the bottom half to lose to the Phillies 6-5 to even their spring training record at 1-1.

For me, the highlight of the game was the performance of some kids who will start the year at AA or AAA, especially the highly touted SS, Gleyber Torres, who at 19 (now 20), was MVP of the Arizona Fall League just a few short months ago.

Torres doubled twice, one down the LF line and the other down the RF line, and scored two runs. Three of the Yanks’ five runs came on wild pitches.

But seeing Torres use BOTH sides of the field to get his doubles was impressive.

Also getting a hit today were other top prospects like Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar.

Prospect Tyler Wade, mostly an infielder but also getting OF time to increase his versatility, made a mistake that allowed an inside-the-park HR to Maikel Franco, who had 2 HR for the day. Wade touched a ball that went under the fence. He signaled for a ground rule double, but it didn’t apply here. By the time he reached under, got the ball and threw it in, it was too late. A learning experience.

Adam Warren pitched two perfect innings. Dietrich Enns went 14-4, 1.73 for AA/AAA last year.

Warren 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 2 K.
Enns 2 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 walks, 0 K. Gave up HR. Blown save.
Camarena 2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 0 walks, 1 K. Gave up 2 HR, back to back, Blown save.
Heller 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 3 K.
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 2 K.
Mantiply 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks, 1 K. Took the loss.

A-Rod to YES booth? and players soon leaving for the WBC.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

After a couple years of being praised for his contributions to the FOX postseason broadcasts, could it be that Alex Rodriguez could be doing some work for the YES network? Maybe not full-time but part-time? Rumors are that this could happen.

Some Yankees, like Didi Gregorius, who homered yesterday in the Yanks’ spring training opener and Dellin Betances will be leaving camp soon to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

The Yankees’ second spring training game is this afternoon at Clearwater, home of the Phillies. Adam Warren will start for the Yankees.

S.T. Game 1. Didi, Judge and Higashioka HR in Yanks’ 9-4 win.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka all homered in the Yanks’ 9-4 win over the Phillies Friday afternoon in their spring training opener.

The Yanks also had three triples in the game.

Matt Holliday went 2 for 2. Ruben Tejada had a single, walk and scored two runs. Miguel Andujar had a double and triple, scored two and drove in one. Clint Frazier had a two-run triple. Also tripling was Dustin Fowler.

The Yankees’ pitchers didn’t allow a baserunner until the seventh.

Mitchell 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K. (W)
Clippard 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K. (H)
Layne 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K (H)
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 2 K (H)
Montgomery 2 IP, 2 R (BOTH UNEARNED) 2 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Gallegos 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 walks, 1 K. Gave up 2 HR.

Spring training games start today.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

First spring training game today at 1 PM Eastern. Bryan Mitchell on the mound. Outside of Ellsbury (arrived late to camp, new daddy) the lineup looks like what could be the Opening Day lineup.

Bleier traded, A-Rod makes retirement official, A-Rod mgr.? and a rule

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Designated for assignment last week when the Yanks picked up Chris Carter, Richard Bleier was traded today to the Orioles for a player to be named later or ca$h considerations.

A-Rod showed up at spring training to be an instructor (and one expensive one at that). When asked about a comeback, he mentioned that since that last game as a Yankee on August 12th of last year that some teams reached out to him but that no, he isn’t coming back. He’s officially retired.

This week there has been some talk of A-Rod as a manager, maybe even replacing Girardi. I’m not in favor of that for a couple different reasons. First, how would he handle a pitching staff? Houk, Berra, Torre and Girardi, to name some recent Yankees managers, were all catchers. A-Rod wasn’t.

Also, take a GOOD look at some of the greatest managers of all time. How many great players do you see? Rose wasn’t especially a good manager before his suspension from baseball. Neither was Ted Williams in his short term as manager,nor Eddie Mathews or Mel Ott. Ryne Sandberg? Bust. Player-managers like Tris Speaker succeeded because they were still PLAYING.

The great managers are usually those who were NOT great when playing (Joe Torre being an exception) but who got to the majors based on their brains and tenacity not their playing skill. Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, Billy Martin, Sparky Anderson, Whitey Herzog and Dick Williams weren’t great players but were great managers. Casey Stengel wasn’t known as an all-time great player, neither Miller Huggins. The same can be said for people who never made the majors like Joe Maddon, Jim Leyland, Earl Weaver or Joe McCarthy.

Being a great player doesn’t make you a great manager. Quite the opposite.

Lastly, MLB is making a change to the intentional walk. I hate it. Now, a manager only need to signal and the batter takes his base. No pitches need to be thrown. It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve seen wild pitches, passed balls, stolen bases off those balls thrown wide of the plate. Heck, last year a pitcher threw a ball not far off the plate, Gary Sanchez swung at it and just missed hitting a HR (it was caught just short of the fence for a sac fly). Terrible decision. I’m going to hate this rule.

Yanks to sign Jon Niese.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Pending passing a physical tomorrow, the Yanks are expected to sign Jon Niese to a minor league contract.

Niese has spent most of his career for the other NY team, the Mets.

The lefty pitcher is 30, and had a rough 2016 for the Pirates and Mets. From 2010-2015, he averaged 10-10, 3.86 per year for the Mets but last year saw 8-7, 5.50 for the Pirates and Mets before he needed knee surgery.

Niese will battle Adam Warren, Luis Severino, Chad Green, Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell for a spot in the rotation as a #4 or #5 starter behind Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia and Michael Pineda. Of those five guys battling for two spots, Niese is the only lefty and if he wins a spot would join C.C. as the lefties in the rotation.

Niese could also go to the bullpen if he doesn’t make the rotation.

He pitched for the Mets in the 2015 postseason when the Mets went to the World Series. In six postseason games, he was 0-0, 5.06.

For his career, Niese is 69-68, 4.07, ERA+ 93. His 162 g. average is 12-11, 4.07, ERA+ 93. Average ERA+ is 100.

UPDATE: The Yanks announced that they are considering him solely for relief.

Gossage, like Levine, needs to zip it.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Besides Randy Levine needing to zip it more often, another person who needs to zip it is Rich “Goose” Gossage, who showed up in camp with his annual rant against relief pitchers, and particularly the great and classy Mariano Rivera.

Goose was great. His plaque is in Monument Park, deservedly so. In his prime, 1978-1983 as a Yankee, he averaged 7-5, 2.10, and 25 saves/yr. Remember that he missed 1/2 of 1979 due to the Cliff Johnson fight and 1/3 of 1981 due to the players’ strike. He is in the HOF, rightfully so, with a record of 124-107, 310 saves, 3.01 ERA and ERA+ of 126. (Goose also spent part of 1989 with the Yanks, at the end of his career). In that 1978-1983 time frame, he averaged 1 2/3 innings per appearance.

Goose spent one year starting for the White Sox in 1976.

Now Goose did pitch 2 2/3 innings in that famous Bucky Dent playoff game vs. Boston in 1978.

In what seems to be his annual rant against baseball today, he says (with expletives) not to compare him, Sutter, Fingers, etc. to pitchers like Rivera, Chapman, etc. because the latter day pitchers are one-inning guys. Fair enough.

But the way Goose disparages Rivera is uncalled for. Mariano’s #42 is retired by the Yankees, rightfully so, and Mo should be joining Goose in the HOF in 2019. He should get in almost unanimously, if not unanimously (there is always one jerk out there) on the very first ballot. What’s Goose going to do, boycott the ceremony?

Taking away Mo’s rookie season of 1995, when he started 10 games, from 1996 to the end of his career, Mariano pitched in 950 games, 1216 2/3 IP, averaging almost 1 1/3 innings per appearance—not too far off of Goose’s 1978-1983 average of 1 2/3. Rivera, of course, finished his career 82-60, a record 652 saves, 2.21 ERA and ERA+ a record 205.

And Mo did pitch three innings in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

The game changed. Goose should not hold Mo responsible for that or disparage Mo. Mo did his job, as the job requirements demanded at that time, as good or better than anyone else, just as Goose did his job, as the requirements demanded at the time, as good or better than anyone else.

The game has changed. Pitchers don’t throw complete games anymore. You don’t see starters throwing 300 innings in a season anymore. But you don’t hear Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson bitching about today’s great starters, do you?

In the same way, relief pitching has changed. I’m old school, and can agree with and sympathize with Gossage’s opinion.

But at the same time, Goose comes across as a bitter, classless, crotchety old man.

It’s to the classy Rivera’s credit that he doesn’t respond in kind. Mo’s not like that.

Enough already. Goose should just praise Mo for the great reliever he was, add that there were two different kinds of eras, and say I was great in mine, Mo was great in his, and be done with it.

Because Goose’s bitching is getting rather tiresome.

Between Goose’s rant and Randy Levine’s gloating over the Dellin Betances’ arbitration case, I was a little ashamed this week—a week I usually can’t wait for, what with spring training starting.

Hey guys, zip it, and let’s concentrate on baseball. Don’t disparage the game and the players but respect and honor good players.

Because your comments this week were very sad to hear, and I’m sure I am not the only Yankees fan saddened, disheartened, and quite frankly, a bit pissed at what I saw and heard.